when you first mentioned the unequal brood chambers, it had me thinking about the Snelgrove board. Would it be practical to try something like that to get some of the bees from the strong-side to use the weak-side entrance? Just thinking.
Sometimes the bees decide the population is good enough and they take a queen out. It's also possible, as you say, that she was superceded and the queen came back to the wrong entrance. Could be the middle one or the other side.
Dd_Land, what happened to the site? I loved those pictures...I wanted to make something similar
Branman - it looks like somebody hacked my web site. I'll fix it (maybe tonight).
how did the season go with your super hive? I read somewhere about the queen excluders being replaced with follower boards for the winter and a deep added. What are your plans for wintering your super hive?
Update on the "super" hive: After discovering that the right-hand side was queenless I replaced the queen excluder with a follower board - so the right "wing" was empty and the hive became backward "L" shaped. I also added a medium super above the left-hand brood chamber and left the left-hand queen excluder in place to keep her out of the honey supers. Note, there were still 60-80,000 bees mostly in the honey supers with at least 150lbs of Tulip Poplar honey. This is bad because July and August are a dearth period around here. Unfortunately, I didn't get around to pulling the supers for extraction until late August by which time there was only about 80lbs remaining! During this period the hive population slowly dwindled to a strong 30-40,000. In September I removed all honey supers and replaced the left-hand queen-excluder with a follower-board - effectivly reducing the hive to a deep brood chamber with a medium super above it for brood and/or winter food storage. I'll over winter them in this configuration.
I plan on trying the 2-queen setup again next spring, but with a medium super on each end for extra brood space and with full-size top entrances on each end (pointing in opposite directions) and in the middle (all bottom entrances closed). I'll also watch the queen situation more closely and extract honey at the end of the main flow! Also, I'll probably split the hive into 4 by mid June.
Suggestions about what to try are welcome.
I recently tried to access some of your pictures the other day on your long hive project. I could'nt get them to pop up. It sounds interesting. I was also wondering how you oriented the queen excluders on the outside colonies? did you have to make a wooden frame around the excluders? Did you use plastic or metal cut down vertically and did you cut a narrow channel in the box sides to slide in the excluders or are they in a fixed position?
The pictures are big -> take a long time to download (I'll try to "crop" them). The queen-excluders are about 16 1/2 inches from each end and extend from the top to bottom of the long box. These are the plastic excluders cut down to fit. The top of the excluder is a 3/4 inch wood rim. I cut grooves in the side of the hive to hold the excluders in place (I should have made the grooves a little wider because the bees propolized them making it difficult to remove). The excluders are positioned so that the bottom edge of the 1st super in the middle column rest on top of the excluder on each side -> effectivly sealing off the middle box column from the queens.
>>>>>>>>>>>The pictures are big take a long time to download (I'll try to "crop" them).
db_land this free app link below will make a slide show and at the same time "shrink" and crop your pictures so they will be very small in size making them quick loading. if you dont care for the slide show go into the photos folder that gets created and presto very nicely sized photos to post.
** Have you seen BeeBlogs.com ?